President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday lashed out at critics who had said that the government could have done more in its campaign against the coronavirus disease or COVID-19.
Duterte made the remark after Vice President Leni Robredo said that the administration was not prepared to deal with COVID-19 when the pandemic started earlier this year.
"'Wag kayong maniwala diyan. Sus, itong mga dilawan lalo na, I hate to mention her name, but itong si Leni ung ano ano ang pinagsasabi," Duterte said in a briefing in Davao City.
"Alam mo Leni kung gusto mo, if you really want to do away with the COVID, i-spray-han natin itong Pilipinas o Manila ng pesticide para patay lahat," he added.
Robredo in an interview on Quarantined with Howie Severino last week said the government was not quite prepared to address the COVID-19 crisis when it started earlier this year.
"You do it, may masabi sila. You do not do it, may masabi si Leni. What do you want us to do? Ang problema kasi nitong… ‘yung magsabi na we are not doing enough. What can we do with the germ that’s flying around?" Duterte said.
Robredo previously lamented what she described as Malacañang’s aversion to criticism and its seeming contentment with its pandemic response.
The Palace has shot down Robredo’s suggestions on how to improve the country’s COVID-19 response several times in the past.
The Philippines continues to lead in the number of COVID-19 cases across Southeast Asia with 290,190 infections as of Monday afternoon.
‘COVID-19 equals vaccine’
Duterte on Monday insisted that a vaccine was the only solution to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“COVID-19 equals vaccine. ‘Wag na ninyong palakihin ang problema. Do not add something to the pandemic by making such reckless statements that we are not doing enough,” Duterte told critics.
"Ano bang enough na gusto ninyo? May ospital, may kama, at may punerarya. Nandiyan lahat. Ano pa ba ang gusto ninyo? The microbes, the virus is flying around," he added.
The Chief Executive also said that the Philippines was in “still waters” as it awaited the rollout of a COVID-19 vaccine.
“The dynamics is that we are in still waters. Hindi naman tayo barko. We are in still waters with the engine out and that is what we have unless the vaccine is there,” Duterte said.
In a Facebook post following Duterte’s address, Robredo pointed out that having facilities to accommodate COVID-19 patients and fatalities are not enough.
“‘Di ko matiis magkaroon ng takeaways. Hindi yata sapat na basta may ospital, kama at punerarya, ang kailangan na lang gawin ay maghintay ng vaccine,” Robredo said.
The Vice President listed several “main challenges” that she said the government must address:
- Suppressing the pandemic by means of medical and non-medical interventions;
- Overcoming humanitarian emergencies including poverty, hunger, unemployment, mental distress, etc., caused by the pandemic;
- Restructuring public and private finances in the wake of the pandemic;
- Rebuilding the economy in an inclusive, resilient, and sustainable way.
“‘Yung number 1 po, hindi ma sosolusyunan sa pag spray ng pesticide sa Manila galing sa eroplano,” Robredo said. -NB, GMA News